Liberal-on-liberal violence breaks out at Brooklyn Bridge Park

one brooklyn bridge park

They think there’s enough housing in the park, thank you very much. via StreetEasy

We all love Brooklyn Bridge Park, even if we had to make peace with the idea that since housing is supposed to pay for the park it means condos overlooking the nice green grass and the roller rink and the pool. Now though, a group of heroes is fighting the incursion of housing, to preserve some of its natural beauty. Sorry, we didn’t mean “heroes,” we meant faux-liberal NIMBYs who don’t want to see affordable housing go up next to their million-dollar condos at One Brooklyn Bridge Park, according to their incoherent complaints in this weekend’s New York Times. Imagine the horror, the same, the indignity of living next to a family of four who makes $138,440.

The fight over whether or not two buildings going up on Pier 6 should contain affordable housing or not isn’t exactly your classic small fry neighborhood group against big time connected developer. It’s a collection of some people from Brooklyn Heights and expensive (and park-adjacent or park-located depending on who you ask) One Brooklyn Bridge Park against other residents of the Heights and the city government who in favor of affordable housing in the Pier 6 buildings. One lawsuit plaintiff in a suit against the city complained that her harbor views on her runs would be ruined by the buildings, and the lawyer for the plaintiffs against the buildings is the same lawyer who argued in favor of SUNY selling LICH to make condos.

Of course, it’s not that these people don’t want to live around poor (well, “poor”) people. Just ask them! The desire for affordable housing to be in “the right way” or in “the best place,” keeps coming up, as is the insistence that the opponents are good liberals who just want things done correctly. The champion of dunderheaded opposition comes from One Brooklyn Bridge Park resident Blair Guppy, who said on a Change.org petition against the buildings that he’d never have bought his expensive new condo if he knew he’d be living near “100% subsidized housing” and then told the Times “By no means am I looking to come across as an elitist. I’m not worried about the influence on property values, but sometimes things need to be looked at.” As of press time, it’s unclear whether Blair Guppy came straight out of central casting or if he wears an ascot.

The fight over whether or not there should be any housing at all in the park is an interesting one, but it sounds like it’s being driven incoherently by people who sound like they’re just trying to hold on to what they got. The Times points out that the plans for the two buildings minus affordable housing were approved in 2006, the architect of One Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of the plaintiffs in the suit against the new buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation said revenues were strong enough to include affordable housing and the affordable housing is only going to take up 30 percent of the units in the new buildings. Anyway, read the story on your lunch break, or just tell your boss you need to fuel your class-war rage fire so you’re reading it right now.

4 Comment

  • Read that article over the weekend and still have no idea what exactly the brouhaha is about. Is it that they are opposed to housing period? It is that they are opposed to the percentage of “affordable housing” in those buildings being increased as de Blasio desires? Is it that there will be an affordable housing component at all?

  • “Look, I mean, I support low-income renters in their quest for decent affordable housing in nice areas of Brooklyn, but do they have to live near ME? They have full access to that park and the trains that go there already, and I ALWAYS smile when they deliver my Seamless order. Isn’t that enough? I’m not trying to come off as elitist or anything.”

  • I wish to be clear about my position on the proposed development at Pier 6 adjacent my home at 1 Brooklyn Bridge Park as recent commentary written by the Gothamist and even Ms. Robbins (the author of this weekends conversation-igniter) seems more contexomy than journalism. It seems this article was squeezed in between Mr. Colon’s (The Brokelyner) “drunk tweets” and selective “listening to arguments drift[ing] in through [his]window”.
    I, Blair Guppy, am NOT opposed to development at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, nor the resident “Gladiator” out to lead the resistance of (true) “dunderheads” against an “incursion of housing”. A Landscape Architect by profession, I am a designer and lover of Parks and Public Space as well as smart development and urban design. I am also NOT opposed to live within a diverse – culturally, ethnically, socio-economically – environment. In fact, this is exactly why I moved to Brooklyn from the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
    I AM, however, skeptical of political ambition that flies in the face of due diligence and careful re-examination of a public space that has exceeded anyone’s expectations in its use and popularity. Also of concern to me is the safety and accessibility of all people that live in the neighbourhood and the greater borough. If you’ve been to Pier 6 on a weekend you know exactly how congested chaotic the area can become.
    To me there seems to be some lack of transparency around the financial needs of the Parks operational and capital budgets as they related to the potential funding to be garnered from the development at Pier 6. As BBP Corp presentation documents reveal there appears to be a financial deficit that 100% market rate housing at Pier 6 won’t be able to mitigate. To further increase this deficit through lack of contribution would be fiscally irresponsible, wouldn’t it? That is unless there is an astounding outcry from the broader Brooklyn community to open their wallets to ensure this Park remains as enjoyable tomorrow as it is today. According to some sources BBP may actually have a resulting surplus of funds. Somewhere within the ledger is the answer we’d like confirmed. Further, how long might that surplus last and would the City be willing to step in and help cover any future shortfall? I’m certain a equal and opposite reaction to tax-increases would be vocalized by more than the “elite few” at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
    Is there such a rush to build affordable housing at the sake of renewed assessment of the proposed developments influence on all aspects of the community, including access to public education (another of the mayor’s top priorities)? With any luck there is less so than the apparent urgency of this weekends slanderous ‘commentators’ (“journalists”) to defame my family name.

  • I’m one of those “affordable housing” denizens who’s lived a few blocks from Mr. Guppy for 16 years thanks to rent stabilization so I’ve got a dog in this fight, too. For me it’s not that there may be more affordable housing in the neighborhood (you bet I’ll be first in line for a new apartment to replace my 120-year-old model) nor that the BBP corp. is less than transparent about its financial health (though there’s that, too). For me, the “brouhaha” is a 30, 50 or more-story tower rising on the Pier 6 uplands that would be as grossly out of character there as the Mitchell-Lama towers that dominate north Brooklyn Heights. If there is to be new housing at the foot of Atlantic Ave. — and yes, let BBP open their books to show that it still is necessary — then it should be designed in scale with the surrounding buildings.